The crew’s beaming smiles assured me the spirit of Fiji was alive and well in the air just as it was on land.
The new Fiji Airways app worked well, making check in a breeze. Whilst I wasn’t able to access a boarding pass, I knew there wouldn’t be any issues with having one printed at the airport.
For guests staying at the Sofitel Fiji Resort & Spa, the check-in experience is made even easier with resort check-in available when travelling with Fiji Airways and any of their codeshare airlines. The counter is manned from 4:30am until 12:30pm daily and also offers the added service of transferring your luggage directly to the airport allowing you to speed right through immigration and security.
As a guest of Fiji Airports, I was lucky enough to receive the VIP treatment at the airport and was escorted straight through Bag Drop, immigration and security. The vast improvements at Nadi International Airport were evident from the moment I walked into the terminal regardless of having an escort however.
Having last travelled to Nadi almost a decade ago, the increased space in the Departures Lounge, the newly elevated ceilings (increased by 8 metres), the expanse of check-in counters, the larger immigration area and enhanced security screening, meant that even if I wasn’t escorted through, there would have been little to no wait.
Even though I was travelling in economy, I was lucky to be granted special access to the new Fiji Airways Premier Lounge.
The facility is impressive, with vibrant, lush greenery lining the entrance, ample seating suitable for relaxing or working, a media room for those wishing to settle down and enjoy some TV and even an enclosed children’s play area to help keep the little travellers occupied.
The buffet food offering was varied, fresh and interesting. From lemongrass and garlic chicken to the fluffiest cous cous I have ever tasted and a dessert selection that featured a caramel cake that just melted in my mouth.
Guests who prefer to sit at the bar and enjoy a beverage (or several) are welcome to do so. An ample selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic options are available, including a Cocktail of the Day that takes pride of place on the bar menu.
Whilst I didn’t have time to enjoy the Spa @ The Gate experience this time around, the treatment menu was reasonably priced and varied in offering. From a 10-minute Fijian Foot Ritual priced at FJD$25 to a 45-minute Island Facialpriced at FJD$90, all treatments exclusively use Pure Fiji products.
Remove all the perks though and you are left with utterly supreme service showcasing the Fijian spirit in all its glory.
Those travellers without access to the Fiji Airways Premier Lounge can still be a part of the experience for FJD$99.
The economy section of the aircraft is broken up into a configuration of 2-4-2 for the most part, with five rows at the back of the plane offering 2-3-2 configuration.
Unlike my previous journey from Sydney to Nadi when I was seated in a slightly awkward seat, this time around I was seated in 23A with Economy seating offering a pitch of 31-32 inches and a 7.5-inch recline.
Ample entertainment is on offer with a variety of recent release movies and old favourites shown on 10.6-inch monitors. I settled on watching the Academy Award-winning The Shape of Water and The Mountain Between Us.
In addition to movies, there are also an array of TV shows, albums, themed radio stations and games on offer.
Fiji Airways has clearly put some thought into travelling families with an entire section of the entertainment offering dedicated especially to the young flyers. Kid’s Club features a selection of movies, TV shows, music and games.
Dinner service was enjoyable and, even though I had enjoyed an early dinner in the lounge, I couldn’t resist the chicken and pasta dish that was complemented by cheese and crackers and a delectable coconut mousse.
The crew on this flight were exemplary. Personality-plus, professional, helpful and fun. Between the service in the Premier Lounge and aboard the flight, the staff certainly are doing their island nation proud.
Class: Economy, Seat 23A
Aircraft: Airbus 330-200
Timing: 4.25 hours